Poonbato is located in Botolan, Zambales. Poonbato is an indigenous cultural community of the Aeta. There are 150 – 200 households in the Eastern Poonbato community.
- Founded/Organized: 1992
- Location:Eastern (Baytan) Poonbato, Botolan, Zambales
- Type of business: Neighborhood Association
- Products: Pumice Stone items
- Number of Workers: 3
- Male/ Trainee: 3/2
One of the products that PTDO started was pumice stone. Pumice stone is a product of Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Millions of tons of volcanic ashes and molten stone were blown and one of the stones produced was pumice stone. It is a spongy and soft stone that is easy to cut and mold. Some of the PTDO finish products are from pumice like scrub, vase, candle holder, and other interior decorative designs. Moreover, PTDO is also developing other crafts from different stone that is available within the area.
Before 1991 they had a fertile farmland, but in this year Mount Pinatubo erupted, destroying the homes, livelihood and way of life of, not just this community, but thousands of the Aeta tribe. It was the most violent volcanic eruption the world had seen in that century (and the last time it had erupted was 600 years ago). Molten ash and rock was hurled in the air and the land itself lost due to lahar. There were 11 villages (Barangay) of Botolan including Poonbato that were displaced and resettled to different areas in Zambales.
Since this time the community members have had to find alternative ways to supplement for their daily needs. They go back to the old villages because there were no sources of earnings in resettlement areas. They continue farming in the old village even there are threats of lahar flood. They need to cross the lahar before them able to reach the old villages.
Some people in the community also earn a living from wood charcoal, mining, and logging. For generations, the land and trees which was mined and logged belonged to the indigenous people. However, on realizing the value of the land, the government and private entity trying to took it from the indigenous people and allowed foreign companies to mine the land instead. For years, the indigenous people fought a loosing battle for the total governance of the land, but they lacked support. In 2007, PREDA began to assist the community by providing alternative livelihood and in the fight for their land and began to lobby the government on their behalf. The fight for the land to the people continues today.
PREDA gave further assistance to the Eatern Poonbato community, with a special development program by having stone craft and pumice stone production. Pumice stone is a product of the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991. Through PREDA, business and product development as well as trainings was conducted in order to start the production. Some of the member were trained and help to deal with some stone crafts. The Foundation got an order from different Fair Trade partners like SERRV by using technology base marketing.